Electrical Central Heating Explained

Electrical Central Heating Explained

When you think of central heating in the home, the traditional vision is of a boiler fired by oil or gas sending warm water around radiators to heat the home.

Throw in a thermostat and, depending on the type of boiler, warm water too and you have what is best known as ‘central heating’, named after the heating that comes from one central source, the boiler.

This method is not always as cost-effective as you might think; Belfast Live reports that heating oil is at an all-time low right now, but prices can fluctuate leaving heating bills inconsistent and hard to budget for. That has led to some people leaning towards an electric heating system in their home. Electricity is becoming increasingly eco-friendly, with the UK increasing the amount of coal-free energy it produces on a regular basis. That makes an electric installation a viable option for homeowners.

There are two types of electric heating, one which could be described as ‘central’ heating and another far more flexible method utilising individual appliances rather than a core system.

Electric Boiler

The first type of electric central heating you can install is an electric boiler, which works in much the same way as a conventional setup. The boiler heats the water centrally and sends it around the house, but instead of being fired by oil and gas, it is fired by electric.

An electric boiler has several advantages, one of which is space. It is essentially a big kettle, boiling water and using it to heat your home. They are relatively cheap to buy and install as well and if looked after properly, will not cost you any more than a normal setup.

It is always advisable to get your heating system insured against any mechanical breakdowns that applies to an electrical installation as well as a standard type. There are gas coverage plans on HomeServe that cover heating and electrics, giving complete peace of mind to homeowners throughout the year. By covering your electrics as well, you are protecting against both possible areas of breakdown.

Electric Radiators

Another method of heating your home using electricity is by installing individual electric radiators in each room. These simply plug into the wall and act separately from each other, offering a more flexible method of heating. If there are rooms in the house you do not use such as a spare bedroom that you wouldn’t need to waste money heating it when warming the rest of the house. Because of the method they use to power up and retain heat, every single watt of electricity is used and converted to warmth for your home, ensuring there is no wastage and no long periods whilst the radiators warm-up either.

There is a misconception that electric radiators are expensive. Whilst we did explain they can cost more in our article Electrician’s Tips for Saving Electricity in Your Home, if used correctly that doesn’t need to be the case. With no boiler, your heating will not need a service using this method, although covering the electrics in your house could again protect you from unwanted breakdowns.


An electric heating system will not work for everybody, it certainly would not be efficient in houses with high demands on the hot water and needing to warm multiple rooms at once. However, in flats with limited space and homes occupied by one or two people as opposed to families, it is a viable alternative to the traditional methods of keeping yourself cosy in the winter.

Electrical Central Heating Explained